Christmas Truces in History

2020-12-22

Header art by Cryo Huren

Five months into World War I, the troops on both sides were facing a long winter. During the preceding months, the Germans and French had clashed numerous times. The Germans kept moving northward in an attempt to flank the French, but the French moved just as quickly, so the “race to the sea” had ended with a stalemate that would ultimately continue for over three more years. But in this particular December, troops were thinking of home and hearth and family, missing the lives they had left behind. As Christmas neared, troops spontaneously began to intermingle. While the official generals for each side continued their rancor, the rank and file soldiers, the ones doing the actual fighting, just wanted to take a break and find some sense of normality.

The Germans called it Weihnachtsfrieden and the French Trêve de Noël, but it was a truce brought about by the soldiers themselves. They came out of their trenches, played football matches with the enemy, shared lunches and even Christmas gifts. The generals on both sides were quick to issue orders that such “truces” were not allowed. Perhaps they were concerned that troops, seeing that the “enemy” was pretty much a lost and lonely kid in an ill-fitting uniform, might decide to lay down arms and just run home to family, ultimately refusing to fight for the cause promulgated by those who weren’t in the trenches and who hadn’t made the race to the sea.

A Silent Night in Germany

In World War II, something similar happened, but on a much smaller scale. During the Battle of the Bulge the American 101st airborne was entrenched in the thick woods of the Ardennes forest. Three American servicemen were trying to find their way back to their platoon, but got lost. One soldier was seriously wounded. They happened across the cabin occupied by a German woman, Elisabeth and her son, Fritz. Elisabeth and Fritz and her husband had lost their home due to American bombing, forcing them to find this temporary shelter, but her husband worked away from days at a time. The soldiers knocked on the door. Elisabeth was frightened to see the “enemy” soldiers, but because they had knocked rather than just bursting in, she invited them in and began to make them supper: potatoes and a chicken named Hermannm, so called because of Hermann Goering, the German leader the woman thought most chicken-like.

When the meal was almost prepared, another knock came at the door. Elisabeth slipped outside to find four German soldiers, lost. Two were only 16 years old, as by this time in the war Hitler was drafting children into the fighting. She refused them admittance until they had put aside their weapons. Then, telling them she had visitors, she allowed them to enter. Suspicions and tensions were high for awhile, but the meal and the warmth brought out the best in the soldiers from both sides. One German was a medic, and diagnosed the injured American suffering from blood loss. The communicated through gestures and broken French, while they consumed Hermann and the spuds. Eventually, warmed through, the Americans asked for directions and were given them by the Germans. Each group of soldiers left the woman and her son, walking off in different directions and toward disparate fates.

Fritz, the German son, later moved to Hawaii and opened a bakery. He always wanted to meet one of the soldiers who he had met so many years before in the Ardennes. Many years later, through the broadcast of the American TV show Unsolved Mysteries, Fritz discovered a still living American who was one of those Christmas soldiers. They met and shared stories about that day, over 40 years before, that had changed both their lives forever, for the American was the wounded man whose life was probably saved by the kindness and humanity of Elisabeth, Fritz, and the German soldier medic.

Nixon Bombs Vietnam on Christmas Day

Not every war has examples of human kindness triumphing over the gods of war. In 1972 America’s 37th president, Richard Nixon, affected his legacy by calling for the Christmas bombing of Vietnam. When peace negotiations broke down in mid-December, Nixon was so infuriated he called for some 20,000 tons of bombs to be dropped on Hanoi and Haiphong, hoping to force the North Vietnamese back to the negotiation table. Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s main foreign affairs advisor, later bitterly remarked, “We bombed the North Vietnamese into accepting our concessions.” Moments like these are why Nixon will be remembered for more than just Watergate.

The Holiday Truce for Pilots

This Christmas season, the Imperium’s Skymarshal Asher Elias, along with several PAPI alliances, have announced plans to observe December 24th and 25th with their loved ones and take a break from strategic fleets and operations; instead choosing to enjoy Bing rather than ping, and mistletoe rather than missile load. The following pings have been sent:

Goonswarm Federation/Imperium

directorbot: I’ll be sending out reminders a few times as the days come up but I want all of us, including our solo hackers and people reinforcing citadels to stop setting timers on the December 22nd and 23th. Those timers will come out Dec 24rd and Dec 25th and we will not be following up on them. The vast majority of Eve players celebrate Christmas so we will be taking the 24th and 25th off from serious action.

TL;DR set no timers Dec 22 and 23.

Pandemic Horde

Hi friends

As we enter the holidays I wanted to wish everyone reading this a very merry Christmas and happy holiday season from the directorate and DEF command team. I hope you’re all happy and healthy. It’s been a fun deployment so far, and as we’re now just a week out from December 25, I wanted to give you all a quick update as to how we’d like to proceed this week:

In the spirit of the holidays, we’d like to avoid making any offensive timers than land upon December 24th or 25th, which means nobody should be creating any fresh offensive timers on either December 22 or 23rd. PvP is the ethos of the alliance, and we still encourage you to go out and explode ships, but nobody should be reinforcing any hostile sovereignty or structures on the 22 or 23rd.

Stay safe out there.

The Initiative

Pandoralica @everyone As we are getting very close to Christmas I just wanted to make sure that nobody here creates timers that would come out on the 24th or 25th. Goons already pinged it out and I think even the bad guys followed up with a similar ping so I hope everyone can just enjoy a few happy days with their families without any worry about spaceships.

TEST Alliance Please Ignore

Generalized update regarding the Christmas Season.

Come the 22nd – 25th of December no timers should be being created. Don’t entosis and don’t bash. This will allow for us and even our enemies to hopefully enjoy the Christmas season as people and not eve players.

As usual we will continue to defend the ground we hold and finish up any final timers that fall within the window. I expect hostiles to make plays through their intermediaries like bastion and the Russians but regardless our stance is above.

SENT BY Vily

Brave Newbies

Brave Collective

Dunk Dinkle @channel Good morning/afternoon/evening party people & otherkin,

Brave will be participating in the Christmas Pause in hostile timers. Make no new hostile timers that will land on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (December 24th & 25th).

We will defend as needed on defensive timers.

This has been a rough year for all humans and some low stress time is a good thing.

Be kind and call your loved ones, they miss you.

It’s a wonderful gesture, recognizing, as it does, that EVE is a game and family is forever.

Here at INN, we wish every one of our readers a very happy holidays, and look forward to reporting the war after the Christmas period.

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Comments

  • Moomin Amatin

    TAPI shot first.

    December 22, 2020 at 4:30 PM
  • Guilford Australis

    Perhaps I’ll do what they did in the old times and trudge next door to T5ZI to drop off a hot mug of coffee, a pouch of tobacco, and the discarded hardtack from my field rations at the Keepstar for some grizzled, unshaven PAPI line member. Then we can gaze off into the distance for a few silent moments, and I’ll say, “If I don’t make it back across the line to 1DQ… look up my family and tell them I loved them, will you?”

    December 22, 2020 at 7:32 PM
    • I considered, for a bit, seeing if I could get into T5ZI and shoot off fireworks on Christmas day. I wonder how long I would last?

      December 22, 2020 at 7:57 PM
      • Romulus Loches Gray Doc

        I’d like to believe that other people would undock with festive launchers loaded with fireworks and snowballs and there’d be some light-hearted shenanigans, but then I remember that this is Eve…

        December 23, 2020 at 4:28 AM
      • Garreth Vlox Gray Doc

        About as long as the decloak timer on a gate jump

        December 23, 2020 at 8:45 PM
  • Romulus Loches

    I like how everyone is in good spirit and mentions how there will be a truce for the holiday, but Vily chooses to throw in some shade about other groups. Nice way to take a moment of rising above Eve politics and instead to dig back down and spin a bit.

    December 22, 2020 at 7:50 PM
    • Garreth Vlox Romulus Loches

      Have you read any of the interviews or listened to the podcasts he’s been on since this started? I honestly don’t think he knows how to talk about an opponent without insulting them

      December 23, 2020 at 8:47 PM
    • 1. No Honor
      2. No Rush

      December 24, 2020 at 10:50 PM